Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Melissa vs The Board of Education

First off let me say, I can't believe it's been over a week since I've posted. I have thought about blogging several times but decided to sew instead.

OK as promised my story of me vs the Forsyth County Board of Education.

Two years ago we moved to this county to be closer to work, upgrade homes, and to move to exceptional schools. My children attended BC Elementary. A couple of months into the year we found out that our neighborhood was being redistricted to S Elementary. So I thought,"OK, that's fine. A bit of a pain in the ass, but the kids will get settled and everything will be fine." Last year they started at their new school. In February, it was announced that the Board of Ed was redistricting again. After looking at the maps, I realized our neighborhood was being redistricted, AGAIN, and back to the original BC Elementary, for starting the 2009-2010 year. I was like, "What the hell?! Make up your minds and pick a school."

The battle begins
On the Board of Education's website, they posted a feedback form. You did not have to enter your name and could post comments as much as possible. I started a one woman campaign. Many a comment was left by me discussing the complete disregard to my children's academic, social, and psychological welfare. My kids potentially attending 3 elementary schools in a 4 year period, not due to residential moving but redistricting. Bouncing kids around like ping pong balls. And the phrase that became my battle cry,"My children are not beans to be counted!" In one comment, I did post my name and email as a challenge for someone to contact me. Lo and behold, my district rep emailed me! We began a series of emails back and forth with him quoting the party line to me and me quoting my battle cry.

The battle continues
Over the summer, the Board of Ed postponed voting on the final map (it was election year) and made some changes. Short story, now our neighborhood is districted to attend a brand new elementary school that will be bearly at capacity (if our children don't go there, they can't open). More emails from me, meetings with neighbors and parents, flyers, phone calls, all orchestrated by me in an effort to stage a write in campaign for the welfare of our kids.

Final showdown
Last Thursday was the Board of Ed meeting where they voted to finalize the redistricting map. I stood up and entered an official statement of disagreement with my Scarlett OHara moment at the end, "My children, my neighbors' children, my friends' children, the children of Forsyth County are not beans to be counted, the are children that deserve "Quality Learning and Superior Performance for All" (the Board's motto). Members of the Board said things like, the constant redistricting is part of the "culture of Forsyth County" and basically if you live here suck it up. The children are not just numbers they are "dollars". Blah, blah, blah! Ack ack! They passed the map.

So I'm over it now. But I learned alot about how the county is run by attending the Board's meetings. I've decided to try to attending other meetings in the future, even if they are not discussing something that directly affects me. Hubby says I should run next time....we'll see.


Shannon said...

In these heightened political times, I'm hard pressed to feel like I have a voice. I don't even feel like my one vote counts.

My kids have always attended an out of district school in my mom's neighborhood. For that reason, I've always felt removed because we don't even live in the county. I do feel like the schools are better than those in my neighborhood.

Gretchen said...

You go girl!!! Georgia really needs to get a grip on development and hello PLAN for development beforehand instead of reacting to it. Sorry it didn't work out for your kids but good for you to keep up the fight. OK I'll get off my soapbox but I'll keep cheering for you and for change!